By  on April 18, 2013

BERLIN Beiersdorf AG met all of its financial targets for 2012, said company chief executive officer Stefan F. Heidenreich during the firm’s annual general meeting in Hamburg Thursday. He added that the maker of Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie was only at the start of a longer journey to compete against global consumer giants.

As reported, Beiersdorf registered a 9.9 percent uptick in 2012 after-tax profits excluding special factors to 477 million euros, or $613.23 million at average exchange. Group sales in the period rose 7.2 percent to 6.04 billion euros, or $7.77 billion, a record for Beiersdorf. Its consumer division revenues rose 7.5 percent to 5.05 billion euros, or $6.49 billion, while on a like-for-like basis, the branch’s sales increased 4.9 percent.

In his speech to the assembled group, Heidenreich was upbeat but cautious about the past fiscal year, saying: "Despite our positive overall performance, our feet are still on the ground. We have seen the first fruits of our labors, but we still have a lot to do before we reach our goal."

He also praised some of the company's recent innovations, such as Nivea Deodorant Invisible for Black & White, Eucerin Even Brighter skin cream and La Prairie Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. This year will hold even more innovative new products, Heidenreich assured.

Additionally, he noted that the company has strengthened its regional research centers, including enlarging the Beiersdorf lab in Wuhan, China, last year, and adding a development center this year to a new production facility in Silao, Mexico.

"Regionalizing our research-and-development work will make us even better placed to optimally satisfy market-specific customer needs in the future," said Heidenreich, who named Brazil, Russia and China as the company's main focus markets moving forward. Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Africa, Asia and Australia region now account for almost half of Beiersdorf's consumer sales.

Company shares performed well over 2012 and closed the year at 61.88 euros, or $81.24 at current exchange, up more than 40 percent against 2011.

Heidenreich reiterated that group sales and Beiersdorf's consumer division’s revenues should grow faster than the market this year. The branch’s EBIT margin is expected to be higher than 2012's 12 percent.

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